Social Service, Daily Routine, and Intercultural Adaptation

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In addition to state (or public) primary and secondary schools, with students in my study abroad program, which ended on July 18, 2022, I visited two NGOs during our second week of study, the London Chinese Community Centre (CCC) in London’s Chinatown and the Islington Centre for Migrants and Refugees in the Islington district just north of the City of London. Our goal was to have direct exposure to how community-based organizations help newcomers in their intercultural adaptation in the U.K., as well as some of their challenges and successes in this regard.

London’s Chinatown, a communal center for generations of immigrants of Chinese heritage in the U.K. (Photo credit: Casey Lum)

During the initial stage of adaptation, one of the most immediate needs of new migrants is the acquisition of services in helping them settle into their new daily routines. Such can prove to be a difficult task, especially for those who do not have a sufficient level of social or functional English. As such, community-based NGOs like the two we visited last week can play a vital role. For example, CCC routinely assists their immigrant members with legal aid for securing social services from the local government or otherwise offering a place for them to build a new social network with their compatriots.

On the other hand, the Islington Centre also regularly helps their clients, many of whom are refugees from conflict regions, with various kinds of legal aids referral services to help them address issues such as political asylum status application, as well as various other everyday life matters related to poverty or job seeking, health maintenance (some of their clients do not know how to fill their medical prescriptions), housing or homelessness, learning about their rights like all other citizens, learning their way around the city, and so on.

One of the challenges facing the staff at these organizations has to do with how, and the extent to which, they can maintain a balance between their professional obligation to their clients and their own personal emotional well-being. On the one hand, one needs to be compassionate about the lives of the newcomers – especially since many of the refugees come from conflict or war-torn regions or escape from political persecution – and many of these people are going through an extremely traumatic stage of their lives. One legal aid staff member of the Centre confided that their day rarely concludes at the end of the workday as their clients’ (at times desperate) needs do not end then.

But there also are moments of joy and great satisfaction. Many members at the Chinese Community Centre enjoy taking part in the various Chinese arts and culture events and workshops, as well as English-language classes. This has been a source of encouragement for the center’s staff and volunteers to continue with their work. An executive at the Islington Centre told us that at times they organize field trips for their clients, to visit museums or attend cultural events across London. During these field trip events and various other such social activities, they sense noticeable joy among their clients. As their clients see or learn something new, their cultural experiences allow them to begin to regain some sense of normalcy in their intercultural adaptation to an otherwise unfamiliar social landscape.

Casey Man Kong Lum, Associate Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Bilingual Education and Storytelling in Intercultural Education

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The important role of bilingual education and storytelling in the social development of young students have been two recurring themes running throughout the first week of my summer study abroad program on United Kingdom: Intercultural Perspectives in Teaching and Learning at NYU London (July 4-18, 2022).

NYC London students visiting classroom
Summer study abroad students from NYU observing a class in session at Mayflower Primary School in London. (Photo credit: Casey Lum)

In her guest lecture to my students on “Rethinking Teaching Languages in European Schools (with a Focus on England): A Healthy Linguistic Diet Approach,” Dina Mehmedbegovic-Smith (July 5) emphasized the importance of bilingual education among the young in the United Kingdom nowadays. This topic was shared by Nicky Busch (July 6) in her special presentation on “The Intersectional Dynamics of Immigration, Intercultural Education, and Intergroup Relations in the United Kingdom,” in which she similarly acknowledged how acquiring English as a second or additional language can help immigrant students gain a voice of their own in their intercultural adaptation to life in the UK.

Our understanding of the above ideas – and many more others that this brief post simply cannot include – has been greatly enhanced by what my students and I witnessed “on the ground level” during our field visit at the Mayflower Primary School, a public school located in the eastern borough of Tower Hamlets in London. While the 2011 census in the UK reported that about one-third of the borough’s population came from Bangladesh, about 90% of the students at Mayflower Primary today are Bangladeshi. Many come from low-income families with a relatively low level of literacy, with parents who are not fluent in spoken English. These are some of the reasons why the school has adopted an approach that emphasizes developing their students’ competence in reading and storytelling in English. At the same time, the teachers encourage their students’ families to speak in their home language, in part to help promote bilingual fluency among the students.

From one practical (or pragmatic) perspective, the emphasis on reading is meant to help the students become savvy information seekers and users for personal and professional development purposes. On the other hand, it is believed that a high level of oracy – with a high degree of competence in taking in one’s experience of the world around them and then in being able to articulate or tell “stories” about their experience orally – can help the young build a solid foundation for acquiring writing skills.

But the above teaching and learning strategies do not and most likely will not automatically or by default lead to the development of students’ competency in intercultural communication, adaptation, or dialogue. For example, Heba Al-Jayoosi, the Assistant Head (Inclusion) at Mayflower Primary School, suggests that many of the parents have never been to London Bridge, which is not far from home. Hence, the school has embarked on a project to take the students and their families on a field trip to London Bridge. Such co-curricular activities are meant to help them gain more exposure to the larger social and cultural environment and help them better adapt. These field trips (similar to my current study abroad program in London) set the stage for follow-up discussion or storytelling among the participants afterward.

Casey Man Kong Lum, Associate Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Intercultural Teaching and Learning in the UK

“Associate

I will be directing and teaching a short-term summer study abroad program for New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human Development. Entitled “United Kingdom: Intercultural Perspectives in Teaching and Learning,” the program will be based at NYU London (July 4-18, 2022).

I have invited four distinguished colleagues to share their insights with students from NYU’s main campus on Washington Square in New York City. They include Nicky Busch (NYU London) on The Intersectional Dynamics of Immigration, Intercultural Education, and Intergroup Relations in the UK; Myria Georgiou (London School of Economics and Political Science) on Remote Teaching and Learning during the COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities; Dina Mehmedbegovic-Smith (University College London) on Language Education in the UK; and Maria Tsouroufli (Brunel University London) on Gender Inequality in Education in the UK.

In addition, a number of co-curricular activities such as guided field visits to various schools and community-based NGOs have also been arranged. These venues include London Chinese Community Centre, Mayflower Primary School, Islington Centre for Migrants and Refugees, Parliament Hill School, St. Andrew’s (Barnsbury) CofE Primary School, William Ellis School, etc. Our activities will center around learning about how these academic and community stakeholders in London address issues related to the role of (English and foreign) language education and multicultural program offerings in their constituencies’ intercultural education.

I will report in a number of forthcoming posts some of my intercultural teaching and learning experiences on this trip.

Casey Man Kong Lum, Associate Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

 

Study Abroad NYU London: Intercultural Perspectives on Teaching and Learning (UK)

Study Abroad

Summer 2022 Study Abroad: Intercultural Perspectives on Teaching and Learning, New York University in London, UK, July 4 – 18, 2022. Deadline: March 23, 2022 (or until all places filled).

Examine intercultural perspectives on teaching and learning across national borders. Explore the role that class, race, gender, economics, politics, religion, and cultural heritage play in the evolving dynamics in language policy, bilingual and world language education, and international education.

Participants in the Summer 2022 program in London will critically reflect upon the challenges and opportunities facing educators, school administrators, policy-makers, community organizers, students, etc., in language education, intercultural relations, and international education in the United Kingdom. Our studies will consider the impact of large-scale events across the UK and around the world, such as the anti-globalization forces behind Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic on education and intergroup relations, the evolving Sino-British relationship over the political transformation in Hong Kong, cross-border infusion and adaptation of immigrants or refugees.

Through seminars and guided site visits, we will share insights with scholars, teachers, policy-makers, writers, administrators, and immigrant community organizers in language, as well as international and intercultural education. Museum visits, theatrical performances, and day trips to important cultural sites are being planned to enrich our experience in intercultural learning positions.

NOTE: This course will be taught by Professor Casey Lum, Associate Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue.

New York U: Diversity, Equity, and Belonging (USA)

“JobVice Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Belonging, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, New York, NY, USA. Deadline: 1 February 2022.

The Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Belonging (Associate/Full Professor, tenure or non-tenure track) will provide institutional leadership for and oversight of strategic initiatives to support and grow a culture committed to promoting equity, community partnerships, and a social justice agenda throughout NYU Steinhardt and beyond it. This position will serve as the primary point of contact on issues of equity and belonging within the School, working with appropriate stakeholders from students, faculty, administrators, and staff.  The ideal candidate will have a strong history of academic leadership and scholarly productivity in research or creative work related to equity, belonging, and social justice, with a demonstrated capacity to work collaboratively with a variety of constituent groups, both inside and outside the University. This is a half-time administrative appointment for a Steinhardt faculty member who will conduct research, teach, and advise students in their home department. Application review will begin right away. For best consideration, please submit by February 1, 2022. Desired start date is September 1, 2022 or as soon thereafter as possible.  Additional information about the position may be obtained from Search Committee Chair, Dr. Shondel Nero at shondel.nero@nyu.edu.

Maria F. Townsend Profile

ProfilesMaría Fernanda Townsend is a graduate student in the Bilingual Education program at New York University from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Maria Townsend
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Maria holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Relay Graduate School of Education in New York and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and French from the University of Notre Dame. As a researcher, María’s area of study is bilingual early childhood education, and specifically the impact bilingual early childhood programs have on children’s linguistic and academic development as well as on communities of immigrants and other minority groups. María recently completed the Teach For America program, through which she taught 3K and Pre-K in a community based organization on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.


Work for CID:
María Fernanda Townsend translated KC35: Media Ecology into Spanish.

New York U Job Ad: Race, Culture & Media

Job adsAssistant Professor in Race, Culture & Media Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

Deadline: October 1, 2017

The Department of Media, Culture, and Communication will hire an entry-level, Tenure-Track, Assistant Professor in Race, Culture, and Media Studies to join our faculty starting September 1, 2018. We seek an engaging educator whose research, teaching, and service will prepare our students for future success in the global public sphere by providing a critical lens through which to understand the relationship between media and communication as it relates to race, ethnicity, inequality and identity.

NYU Steinhardt values equity, diversity, and inclusion and especially encourages candidates from historically underrepresented groups to apply.

Necessary Qualifications
Doctoral degree awarded by spring 2018, and primary research trajectory consistent with the position description.

NYU job ad: Media, Culture, Communication

Assistant Professor, Media, Culture, and Communication
New York University

The Department of Media, Culture, and Communication in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University seeks a beginning assistant professor (tenure track) who specializes in contemporary media, identity formation, and social activism in African-American and/or other African Diaspora communities. Candidates should submit dissertations, book manuscripts, publications, and other samples of scholarly writing. They should also be able to demonstrate capacity for excellence in teaching through student evaluations, teaching observations, or similar materials.

The Department of Media, Culture, and Communication is home to 30 full-time faculty and serves approximately 750 undergraduate majors, 90 MA students, and 40 PhD students. NYU’s dynamic Global Network University includes NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU Shanghai, and international programs and academic centers around the world.

NYU is committed to building a culturally diverse educational environment and strongly encourages applications from historically underrepresented groups.

Qualifications:  Qualified candidates should have a Ph.D. in hand by September 1, 2015, and an active agenda of research, publication, and teaching.

Responsibilities:  Teach and advise undergraduate and graduate students, conduct research, and engage in program, department, school-level, and university service.

Applications:  Please apply via e-mail with a cover letter, CV, names and contact information for three references, and a significant sample of work to:   mccnyusearch@gmail.com

Applications may be addressed to:
Professor Ben Kafka
Department of Media, Culture, and Communication
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
New York University
239 Greene St, 8th floor
New York NY 10003

Further information about the position can be obtained from Lisa Gitelman, Department Chair:  gitelman[at]nyu{dot}edu.

Review of applications will begin on October 31st, 2014 and continue until the position is filled.

New York U job ad

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
Assistant Professor

The Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University invites applications for a tenure-track appointment in the cultural study of the Middle East at the assistant professor level, to begin September 1, 2012, pending budgetary and administrative approval. We seek a scholar who can contribute to the department’s graduate track in Culture and Representation, which focuses on the history, politics, and theories of representation as they relate to Middle Eastern cultures within an interdisciplinary framework. The department welcomes candidates from different disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences, and from across the broader geography of the Islamic world (interest in Turkey or the Maghrib is desirable). Candidates must have the Ph.D. by the time of appointment, demonstrate potential for superior scholarly accomplishment, and be prepared to teach a wide range of graduate and undergraduate courses and to supervise doctoral dissertation research.

Review of applications will begin on November 15, 2011. To apply see the NYU Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies web site at http://meis.as.nyu.edu/ via the “Employment” link to submit a detailed cover letter describing research and teaching experience, c.v., writing samples, and the names of three referees.

NYU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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